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I was lucky enough to speak to Rachel Sharpe (FRSA) from National Trust today, Rachel has devised some inspiring projects incuding ‘Potter and Ponder’


Rachel outlined the audience development strategy at Croome in Worcester and how partnership and participation were key to meet its public benefit remit. Central to their strategy was the incorporation of Asset Based Community Development principles to their programming. This empowering and enabling approach is more commonly associated with community wellbeing and development activities, and build on the innate human, social and physical capital that exists within communities. In the case of Croome, traditionally labelled ‘hard to engage’ audiences are viewed as ‘assets’ and are placed at the heart of projects – as opposed to ‘deficits’ e.g. problems to be solved. An example of this approach was ‘Potter and Ponder’ 2016, where 35 children with special needs and learning disabilities co-created a new sensory walk map, including selecting the artist. Enabling neurodivergent children and adults to access and enjoy the grounds.

Rachel Sharpe also noted that fostering long term partnerships was an integral part of their audience development process and was reflected in their approach to programming and project initiation.

It was wonderful to hear about her work placing people at the heart of programming in inventive and meaningful ways